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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 19



Referee Week in Review – Week 19

The Situation: Colorado is trailing New England 1-0 in the 63rd minute.

The Play: The attacking player drives towards goal and is tripped by a defender from behind as he attempts to shoot.

The Decision: The referee awards a penalty kick and issues a red card.

My Take: The attacking player is going to have an obvious chance to score, and the defender makes no contact with the ball when he attempts to tackle it away. Even though there are other defenders in the vicinity, they could not have prevented the chance. Therefore, the defender clearly denied a goalscoring opportunity, and is appropriately sent off for the challenge.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 explains that a player is sent off when “denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty.”


The Situation: Chivas USA is leading Houston 1-0 in the 40th minute.

The Play: A pass is played into the attacking third, and as the defender attempts to clear the ball it ricochets off an attacker into the path of a teammate, who is in an offside position. The attacker uses his first touch to score.

The Decision: No offside is indicated, and the goal is allowed.

My Take: Even though the attacking player is not deliberately playing the ball, when the ball hits him we must now consider whether the player receiving the deflection is in an offside position. In this case you can see that he is, and the goal should be disallowed. This play happens very quickly, which makes the situation difficult to detect. Notice that no one on the field reacts to the decision.

The Laws of the Game: Law 11 states that a player in an offside position is penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by interfering with play. In this case, interfering with play means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate.

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.


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